What’s the Plan for Your Digital Estate?

8:56 pm Estate Planning

social media icons in hand 150x150 What’s the Plan for Your Digital Estate?Many people who create an estate plan for their financial assets and personal property don’t realize they need to do the same for their digital assets – computers, tablets, smartphones, stored data, social media accounts and other places we live online.

Digital assets are taking on an increasingly important role in our lives, and may have both financial and sentimental value.  If you don’t make a plan for what will happen to them, your heirs may be unaware of important documents or family mementoes that could have meaning to them.

Here are 4 steps to take to start your digital estate planning:

1.  Consider “what if”.  A good first step is to consider what digital assets are important in the case something happens to you.  What are some irreplaceable items you could lose if your computer or tablet got lost or stolen?  If you became incapacitated, would loved ones have access to important financial accounts?

2.   Asset inventory.  Create an inventory of all your digital assets.  These can include computers and other digital devices, data storage devices, electronically stored data, user accounts, domain names and intellectual property that is in electronic format.  There are a number of software products on the market and web-based services that let you securely store your digital account information and passwords.

3.  Back up.  Storing your digital data on a back-up storage device or in the cloud is advised for those assets you want to live on after you are gone.

4.  Put it in writing.  Formalize your digital estate plan by putting it in writing.  You should name an executor for your digital assets (it can be the same person you have named in your will).

For more information on digital estate planning, contact our Costa Mesa law firm.

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